EdD (Doctor of Education)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
James Lampley, Richard Rhoda
The purpose of this non-experimental, comparative quantitative study was to determine if there were significant differences between the perceptions of undergraduate and graduate students about the importance and presence of sense of community in online classes at two southern public universities using survey data. The study also aimed to determine if there were significant relationships between students’ perceptions of the presence of sense of community and students’ satisfaction with the course and between students’ perception of the presence of sense of community and students’ perceptions of increases in cognitive learning. The study also addressed factors of undergraduate classification, gender, and format of the class as synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of synchronous and asynchronous elements. The survey also provided data on how to best create a sense of community in online classes.
The findings provide evidence that graduate students had significantly higher scores on the perceptions of the importance and presence of sense of community than undergraduate students. No significant differences were noted based on undergraduate classification, gender, or format of the class. Significant positive relationships were found between the presence of sense of community and students’ satisfaction with the course and between the presence of sense of community and students’ perceptions of increases in cognitive learning. A rank ordering of class activities and practices provided insights on the most effective ways to create a sense of community online. The top five responses were feedback from the instructor, introductions of classmates, synchronous video meetings in large groups of five or more students, instructors’ announcements, and email communication with the instructor.
Students’ open-ended responses showed that some students preferred to be independent learners; some found a sense of community in online classes; and some felt isolated but did not find a sense of community. Other comments showed the value of cohorts, social media chat groups, and connections with another student. Students reported mixed reviews about discussion boards, synchronous video meetings, and group work. Students also reported on the critical role of the instructor in creating a sense of community.
Dissertation - unrestricted
Higgs Kappel, Laura Lynn, "College Students’ Perceptions of Sense of Community, Satisfaction, and Cognitive Learning in Online Classes" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4099. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4099
Copyright by the authors.